Thursday, April 26, 2018

Eric Bibb at the Tivoli Theatre

I don’t get to many gigs these days so it was a real treat to see Eric Bibb in action last night at the Tivoli Theatre. Unlike the arse-numbing Vicar Street seating, the Tivoli is a really comfortable venue. You sink down into your plush seats and let the music flow over you. There’s no allocated seating so we arrived shortly after the doors opened and got excellent perches a few rows from the front. Bibb had a first-rate band with him. He was accompanied on 12-string guitar, slide guitar and occasionally mandolin and harmonica by Canadian country-blues notable Michael Jerome Brown. On drums he had the grizzled Paul Robinson who played for 20 years with Nina Simone – a demanding role I’d imagine. There was also an excellent guy on bass guitar and stand-up bass but his name escapes me.  A great lineup who proceeded to put on a great show for an enthusiastic audience. Bibb is an interesting character. His background is hardly typical for a blues man. He attended Columbia University, had the great Paul Robeson for a godfather and left for Europe when he was quite young. He currently lives in Sweden. He’s a charming and personable man who quickly established an easy rapport with the audience. He opened with the classic Going Down Slow and proceeded to take us on a tour of his back catalogue. There was a lot of gospel-flavored songs such as Now Is the Needed Time, and Don’t Let them Drag Your Spirit Down with the audience singing and clapping along. He also included a nice tribute (Call My Name) to drummer Samantha Banks who died recently.  A great night was had by all. Afterwards of course there was the mandatory trip down Francis Street to Fallon’s – a fine authentic old pub – where we enjoyed a perfect pint (or two).

Monday, April 23, 2018

Now That’s a Long Shot

I was walking my dogs on Killiney Beach a few days ago as is my wont. It was close to low tide and I was throwing a tennis ball into the sea for Shyla to fetch. Missy, my other dog, is not competitive and refuses to participate. When bending down to pick up the ball where Shyla had placed it for more action, I noticed a brown square shaped object about a foot from the water line. At first I thought it was an unusually regularly-shaped stone but it turned out to be a small elegant Leica digital camera in a case. It was a bit sandy but the case seemed dry so the incoming tide had not engulfed it yet. Another 30 minutes or so and it would have done. I brought it home and fiddled with it for a while to see if I could  ascertain any clues from the stored images. The battery however was flat so I couldn’t get it going. I put it by thinking I’d drop it down to Dun Laoghaire Garda station later. Distractions set in. First I had to sit through the trauma of Munster’s hammering by Racing 92 followed by a restorative pint in the Druid’s Chair. It was my turn to cook so I put together an egg-fried rice dish with garlic prawns and then settled down for the evening. Flicking through my Twitter account I came upon a tweet forwarded to me by S. She was offering my services as a beachcomber to a woman called C. who had tweeted: “My precious camera was lost on Killiney beach yesterday evening … “ and showed an image of a Leica. S. Knew I walked the dogs there most days and told C. she’d ask me to “keep an eye out” for it. What are the odds? It transpires that C. lives around the corner from me so camera and owner have been reunited.